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Setting Up a Mainland Company in Dubai: A Step-by-Step Guide


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If you are considering setting up a company in Dubai, it is important to understand the legal and administrative procedures involved. Dubai is a hub for businesses across the globe and setting up a mainland company in Dubai can provide several advantages. In this guide, we will provide a step-by-step approach to mainland company setup services in Dubai, highlighting the requirements and processes involved.

Step 1: Determine the Business Activity

Before setting up a mainland company in Dubai, it is essential to determine the type of business activity you wish to undertake. Dubai has a well-defined list of business activities, and it is essential to determine if your business activity is permitted in Dubai. Once you determine the business activity, it is important to identify the legal structure of the company. The legal structure can be in the form of a Limited Liability Company (LLC), a sole proprietorship, or a civil company.

Step 2: Find a Local Sponsor

Foreign investors must have a local sponsor to set up a mainland company in Dubai. The local sponsor must be a UAE national, and their role is to liaise with the authorities and ensure the company complies with the local laws and regulations. It is important to note that the local sponsor does not have any ownership in the company, and their involvement is limited to fulfilling the legal obligations.

Step 3: Register the Company with DED

The next step is to register the company with the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED). This involves obtaining an initial approval certificate, which includes the trade name, the business activity, and the legal structure of the company. Once the initial approval certificate is obtained, the company must be registered with the DED by submitting the necessary documents, including the memorandum of association, the local sponsor agreement, and other relevant documents.

Step 4: Obtain Approvals from Relevant Authorities

Depending on the business activity, the company may require approvals from other relevant authorities. For example, if the business involves food, then approvals from the Dubai Municipality are required. Similarly, for businesses involving healthcare, approvals from the Dubai Health Authority are required. It is important to identify the relevant authorities and obtain the necessary approvals.

Step 5: Obtain Trade License

Once the company is registered with the DED and the necessary approvals are obtained, the next step is to obtain the trade license. The trade license is issued by the DED, and it permits the company to conduct the business activity in Dubai. It is important to note that the trade license must be renewed annually.

Step 6: Register for VAT

Value Added Tax (VAT) is applicable in Dubai, and companies must register for VAT if the annual turnover exceeds the specified threshold. The current threshold is AED 375,000, and failure to register for VAT can result in penalties.

Step 7: Open a Bank Account

Once the trade license is obtained, the next step is to open a bank account. It is important to choose a bank that meets the company’s requirements and provides efficient banking services.

Step 8: Obtain Visas for Employees

If the company requires visas for employees, then it is important to obtain the necessary approvals from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA). The number of visas is based on the size of the office space leased by the company.

In conclusion, setting up a mainland company in Dubai requires careful planning and execution. It is important to determine the business activity, find a local sponsor, register the company with DED, obtain approvals from relevant authorities, obtain the trade license, register for VAT, open a bank account, and obtain visas for employees. With the right approach, setting up a mainland company in Dubai can provide several benefits for

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